Subscription Retail: The Saviour of 2020
2 December 2020
Author: Jasmine Waters
Personal spend is something which has had to come under detailed consumer scrutiny after the unfolding of 2020. As a result, retailers have had to get crafty. In other industries, subscription services have soared, ranging from having access to digital material to having essential and non-essential items delivered straight to your door. As the fashion industry is one of the last to not utilise the growing trend, can its retailers make it work to their advantage?
Even before the pandemic took hold, subscription-based retail was on track to reach £1 billion in value by 2022. Now, every two in five consumers have signed themselves up since the COVID-19 outbreak. Along with the rise in online spending, many have found themselves turning to subscription services as an efficient way to manage their personal expenditure. But so far, we’re yet to see clothing products marketed or sold in the same way. Customers can help budget for their regular purchases, but a subscription service could also allow for a journey of discovery that has not yet been fully tapped into. As we continue to look for ways to bridge the gap between a digital and physical interface, subscriptions provide a seamless and convenient service for consumers that brings together the best of both worlds. It plays on the need for total convenience, as well as providing stability and routine for an activity that shows no signs of returning it to its former self. There are extra benefits from a brand’s POV, too. Alongside offering a more predictable, regular stream of income (customers would be paying the same prices month on month) but can also allow for finances to be forecast on a more accurate basis, meaning brand strategy can be updated and executed a lot more quickly.
What should brands be aware of?
That said, there are potential pitfalls. The increasing consumer want of sustainable fashion may be negatively impacted, as boxing could lead to a growth in excess packaging. In order to continue to address the consumer concern, it’s important for retailers considering a subscription service to find a balance between the business model and a long-term sustainable goal. Regardless, there now has to be a bigger desire by a brand to innovate in order to keep afloat next to its competitors. This also plays into the post-pandemic option to package different types of products together under one brand roof, creating a one-stop subscription shop for multiple needs at once. There’s no doubting the success of subscription, which looks to be a new way to speak to consumer values and trust. Being able to tap into the consumer needs of now may also prove to be beneficial to a brand’s business in the future. The success of being able to create a new consumer experience might just be the most important piece of leverage a brand could now have, and with the added extras of stock predictability, removal of aged stock cost and forecasted consumer needs – being able to give the gift of surprises, that keeps on giving, is a powerful tool for fashion to grab hold of.
Image source: you.co.uk